Clause 66 — VAT: refunds to certain charities

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 25th March 2015.

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Photo of Sheila Gilmore Sheila Gilmore Labour, Edinburgh East 4:15 pm, 25th March 2015

I thank my hon. Friend for her intervention. Clearly, those are the kinds of concern that people have.

On the VAT proposals, the changes and exemptions that the Government may wish to make for some worthy cause are welcome. I am talking here about the help for organisations such as hospices. But there is scope to go further. I will say something now that, although not Front-Bench policy, is perfectly legitimate to raise in Committee. As someone who has been very involved in housing, I know that the housing world is keen to see VAT relief on improving and restoring properties.

VAT can make refurbishing properties more expensive than rebuilding. Demolition and rebuild has become a cheaper option than preserving some of our properties. Having worked with many housing associations, I know that there have been times when they have wanted to do that kind of refurbishment and preservation work, but they had to do a massive upgrade behind that to bring the homes up to the required standard. Such a VAT exemption is something for which the housing world has campaigned for a long time. As we all want to increase sustainability, I hope that that is an issue that my own Front-Bench team will reconsider when they are in government.